2000 Trees Festival 2019: Brighton Band Orchards On Defying The Limits Of Math Rock And Misogyny
With the market for Indie bands becoming as saturated as it is competitive the task of finding authentic stand out acts becomes even more challenging. But gleaming like a diamond in the rough is Orchards, a Brighton-four piece who’s genre is limitless and attitude is humble but honest.
Their sound is a playful mix of bombastic and lively rhythm, soulful lyrics and Math-Rock like riffs that juxtaposes its lively instrumental nature with sometimes emotional vulnerable lyricism. Their 2018 debut EP 'Lovers/Losers' charted them into the industry, and marked a few fan favourite tracks i.e. ‘Peggy’ and ‘Honey.’ But their latest anthems ‘Young’ and ‘Mature Me’ show critics that Orchards are more than just the Math Rock/Math Pop umbrella, and have a plethora of tricks up their sleeve.
We had the chance to speak to them at 2000 Trees festival, where they played to an astounding turnout of fans and put on a phenomenal performance.
You guys describe yourself as 50% Pop, 45% guitar and 1% Oat Milk but what really makes Orchards?
Lucy Evers (vocals): ‘(Laughing) Last year we sort of got sponsored by an Oat Milk company because of this.’
Sam Rushton (guitar): ‘I reckon it started though because people were putting us on like “this is Math-Rock” and others were like “it’s not fucking Math Rock” and then it was “this is Math-Pop” and others were like “it’s not Math-Pop.”
So, we were like you know what? We’re gonna call ourselves some random thing and then you can make of it what you will. Come to a show and decide for yourself. ‘
Will Lee-Lewis (Drums): ‘we’ve never really put a label on Orchards so it’s funny to see people say “it’s not a Math-Rock band.”’
Speaking of genre’s and bands, as we are at a festival I feel it’s only appropriate to find out your favourite bands?
Sam: ‘We’ve just seen our mates Conjurer who were amazing. We have this weird crossover with them where like, they like us and they’re heavy as shit and we like them and we’re not heavy at all.’
So, like Slipknot and One Direction?
The band collectively: ‘Yes!’
Lucy: ‘I like to call us boppable! You can have a boogie and you can enjoy your evening.’
Among the other band’s the four-piece gushed about were Yonaka, Rolo, Everytime I Die.
‘I would never write something I’ve not experienced myself or don’t understand. I would only ever write stuff that I truly believe in.’ - Lucy
You released two singles, ‘Mature Me’ and ‘Young’, and I find your music always has a way of making light from bad situation. It’s got this vivacious beat to mask an emotional vulnerability within the lyrics, what’s the writing process like?
Lucy: ‘I think that’s how a lot of us live our lives. You have to find goodness out of hard times. I think we’re all influenced by different types of music and smooshing that into a pot comes out what it comes out like.’
‘I said in an interview before, I would never write something I’ve not experienced myself or don’t understand. I would only ever write stuff that I truly believe in and its therapy for me. Writing it down gets it out my system and I can move forward of that life.’
Sam: ‘I think it’s nice because this band is a cathartic experience for us, and we’ve had a lot of fans say the same thing to us. So, it’s a lot of validation, because it’s like it’s doing exactly for you what it’s done for us.’
So, I know you guys were formed in Brighton but come from all over the place, are there any culture clashes? Any sayings you’ve picked up on?
Dane Fane (Bass/vocals): ‘We’ve deffo picked up each other’s phrases, there’s a lot of stuff Lucy and Will come out with.’
Sam: ‘I’ve totally taken on Will and his little sayings.’
Will: ‘There’s so much dialect to scouse’s, they’ve got their own little club and it’s infectious.’
Sam: ‘I always used to be like fair enough and Will used to say fair and now I say fair.’
“You’re not anything without your fans.” - Sam
As we’re at one of the UK’s biggest independent festivals, what’s the importance of independent music venues/festivals as a smaller band growing up in this scene? Especially because now bands will rapidly blow up online that they often don’t get to experience the love of an authentic sweaty basement gig, do you think that’s still important to our scene?
Lucy: ‘Hell yeah!’
Dan: ‘100% that’s kinda what we forged this band upon, for us we’ve wanted to grow and meet new people who come to our shows that then become our friends and build gradually.’
Lucy: ‘The analogy I always use is, you can’t grow something with longevity if there’s no foundation. There’s fans that come to our tour like Joe and Nikki and Chris and Sam that we all know from coming to our shows. They come to our shows and they’re our friends now. Music connects through every walk of life.’
Will: ‘If you want to be in a band why wouldn’t you want to play the dive venues?’
Sam: ‘And you’re not anything without your fans.’
A big talking topic that I’ve been waiting to ask you guys about is in regards to the lovely Lucy. The Alternative music industry has had a revolution for women where myself and you (Lucy) can sit here with the same jobs as men, Lucy as a woman in this industry do you think the same degree of sexism exists and to the rest of you as men, do you notice it more or less?
Sam: ‘Well we walked into a gig for a band and someone pointed at me and said “so tell your merch girl (Lucy) that the merch table is over there” and I was like “do not let her hear you call her the merch girl.”
Lucy: ‘I was livid. Livid because you should never assume 1) that I identify as female and 2) you shouldn’t call someone “a girl” and 3) that you shouldn’t assume I’m just “a merch girl” just cause I’m holding a merch box 4) and because SHE was female as well.’
Will: ‘We love merch people, there’s nothing wrong with merch people.’
Sam: ‘We’re not merchist!’
Lucy: ‘There is for sure imbalance but it’s not a quick fix and yeah there’s an imbalance with women in music, but there’s also imbalance in trans people in the industry and queer people in the industry.’
Sam: ‘There’s bands under our label, Big Scary Monsters, like Martha and Nervus who are incredible. It’s sick independent labels like ours that give us ALL the platform.
Do you remember playing in Germany and they were talking to us for you (Lucy) to ask you what she wanted on stage?’
Lucy: It happens all the time in small pockets, it could be something quite miniscule like somebody trying to tell me how to hold a microphone even though I’ve been holding one since I was 6. Like don’t assume I don’t know what I’m doing.
Sam: You should do what you do for every band for these bands. Go buy their merch, go stand at the front of their shows when they’re singing about inclusivity. Post about it on social media and tell people about their message.
Orchards latest singles, Mature Me & Young are available to stream now.
Full gallery from 2000 Trees to follow.
Interview - Yasmin Summan
Live Photos - Sam Robinson Photography